Scammers stole millions last Christmas. These six tips could keep you safe online this time around

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is urging people to be careful when shopping online in the run up to Christmas as cyber criminals step up campaigns to steal money, credit card information and more during the busiest time of year for retailers.

Last year’s Christmas shopping period, from November 2019 to January 2020, saw cyber criminals make off with a total of £13.5 million as a result of online shopping fraud – averaging out at £775 per incident across 17,405 cases reported by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

And with even more people expected to be doing their Christmas shopping online this year because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions, the NCSC, alongside the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has launched a ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF

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The coming war on the hidden algorithms that trap people in poverty

Miriam was only 21 when she met Nick. She was a photographer, fresh out of college, waiting tables. He was 16 years her senior and a local business owner who had worked in finance. He was charming and charismatic; he took her out on fancy dates and paid for everything. She quickly fell into his orbit.

It began with one credit card. At the time, it was the only one she had. Nick would max it out with $5,000 worth of business purchases and promptly pay it off the next day. Miriam, who asked me not to use their real names for fear of interfering with their ongoing divorce proceedings, discovered that this was boosting her credit score. Having grown up with a single dad in a low-income household, she trusted Nick’s know-how over her own. He readily encouraged the dynamic, telling her she didn’t understand finance. She opened up

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Facebook failed to warn Georgia voters about misinformation, activists say

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Facebook is still grappling with political misinformation after election day.


Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook has been using labels to warn users about posts that contain misinformation, but a global activist group says false claims are still slipping through the cracks ahead of runoff elections in Georgia that will decide which party controls the US Senate.

Avaaz, a global activist group, said Friday it examined 204 Facebook posts in English and Spanish that contained 12 false Georgia election-related claims debunked by fact checkers. As of Nov 20, about 60% of these posts didn’t have a label that warned users the post contained false information. Some of the posts weren’t labeled at all and others had a different label that directed Facebook users to an online hub with election information.

The analysis raises questions about whether

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Public clouds hit a wall in innovation

As it opens this week, AWS re:Invent is not taking place in Vegas but is virtual and free. Virtual events are a silver lining of the pandemic because they keep me off airplanes and eliminate seven miles of walking each day at the bigger public cloud conferences. Maybe I’m getting lazy in my old age, but the time that virtual events save seems to be more productive.

Not to pick on AWS, but when we look at the announced innovations at public cloud events during the past year, few were game changers. Yes, most vendors will continue to move toward the intelligent edge, providing more points of presence, and they will continue to exploit artificial intelligence. However, these are mostly evolutionary steps rather than revolutionary ideas.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about moving from containers to serverless containers or from relational databases to purpose-built cloud-based databases or from outdated

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100 High Performance Small Cap Stocks

By Hank Tucker, Antoine Gara and Eliza Haverstock

Ask just about any investor from Silicon Valley to Wall Street and they will tell you: We’re living in the age of the mega-corporation. Trillion-dollar mega cap quasi-monopolies like Google, Apple and Amazon are pushing into everything from autonomous driving and entertainment to financial services and healthcare. And judging from their stock prices, the bigger these companies get, the more Wall Street applauds.

But being small, specialized and great—a hedgehog among foxes—is still a recipe for success, especially in a recovering economy.

Take Collectors Universe, a $700 million market capitalization company that grades collectibles like baseball cards, rare coins, stamps and autographs. It is the authenticator of millions of memorabilia items, like Mike Trout’s rookie card, Ted Williams’ autograph and 19th-century Morgan silver dollars. In the collectibles market, the Santa Ana, California-based

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Samsung’s 2021 phones won’t support your older Galaxy Gear wearables

  • Samsung’s older Gear wearables will not be supported by its 2021 smartphones.
  • The devices affected include the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, and Gear S.

If you still own and use an early Samsung Gear smartwatch daily you may want to think twice about upgrading your smartphone in the new year. A notification in the Samsung Members app (via GalaxyClub) has warned users that the firm’s early wearables will no longer be compatible with its 2021 smartphones.

“The existing service quality of older Samsung Gear wearables cannot be guaranteed and ensured through app updates alone,” reads the translated notification. “Therefore, older Samsung Gear wearables can no longer be used in conjunction with new Samsung smartphones (from the year of publication 2021).”

The update specifically lists five wearables that will be affected by the news, chief of which is the Galaxy Gear from 2013. The Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear

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Serious iPhone Flaw Can Let Others Access Your Device, Data And More

KEY POINTS

  • Apple’s iPhones are some of the best smartphones around
  • Despite this, researchers still discover some flaws
  • One particular flaw can allow remote access to the iPhone and its content

A security researcher discovered a major security flaw that allows people with the know-how, equipment and malicious intent to gain remote access to a nearby iPhone, view all of the data in the device and even steal it – all without the owner knowing.

Noted Google Project Zero research Ian Beer, a known security researcher who works with companies to fix serious flaws, recently published a lengthy blog entry explaining how it is possible for someone to gain access to an iPhone from a safe distance, such as from the other side of the street.

The blog entry, “Project Zero: An iOS zero-click radio proximity exploit odyssey,” is highly technical in nature and uses jargon that won’t be easy

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Sick of Roaming Fees? Now Your Carrier Is Hurting Too

The 2020 travel hiatus has lost European carriers some 2 billion euros in roaming fees, according to my calculations based on this year’s earnings reports. That might only be about 1% of their total revenue, but in many cases the drop-off has been enough to make the difference between profit growing and shrinking, trimming earnings for some operators by four or five percentage points. It chips away at their contention that new digital tools are making profitability more resilient.

That’s because roaming is significantly more profitable to carriers than standard phone plans. It can generate a more than 50% Ebitda margin, an earnings measure, compared with the typical 35%, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Erhan Gurses estimates.

It’s a particularly lucrative money-spinner for companies active in the tourist hotspots of southern Europe: the likes of Telecom Italia SpA, Vodafone Group Plc, France’s Orange SA and Spain’s Telefonica SA. Roaming can proportionately account

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America’s Cup yachts pose new challenges for graphics crew

By Greg Stutchbury



Ineos Team UK's new America's Cup AC75 yacht is seen outside the British team's base in Portsmouth


© Reuters/ALEXANDER SMITH
Ineos Team UK’s new America’s Cup AC75 yacht is seen outside the British team’s base in Portsmouth

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Ian Taylor has helped bring the America’s Cup to life for TV viewers since 1992 but he is slightly worried that the secret designs and sheer speed of the boats for next year’s regatta may have left his computer graphics company in the dark.

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The high-tech AC75 foiling monohulls are so fast, and their design and builds so secret, that Taylor is unsure how it will impact the graphics package his firm provides.

And with the first practice races for defenders Team New Zealand and the challengers set for next week, time is of the essence.

“We’re testing all the data and software from next week,” Animation Research’s Taylor told Reuters by telephone from Dunedin.

“Nobody has seen the boats (in race

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Intel unveils its second-generation quantum computing control chip

Intel unveiled its second-generation quantum computing control chip during its Intel Labs virtual event today. The chip, codenamed Horse Ridge II, is another milestone toward making quantum computing — one of the holy grails of computing — more practical. The new prototype builds on the first-generation Horse Ridge controller introduced in 2019. Horse Ridge II has more capability and higher levels of integration to control a quantum computer, which remains a long-term goal for the company.

At the outset of the project, Intel’s researchers designed the scalable system-on-chip (SOC) to operate at cryogenic temperatures, simplifying the control electronics and interconnects required to elegantly scale and operate large quantum computing systems. Most quantum computing systems only really works at near-freezing temperatures. Intel is trying to change that, but in the meantime, the control chip eliminates having to run hundreds of wires into a refrigerated case that houses the quantum computer.

Quantum

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